Periodontal disease is a common affliction among adults in the United States. In fact, it is one of the most frequent causes of tooth loss. If you have periodontal disease, it’s best to have it treated as soon as possible before it becomes serious enough to require surgery.
What are the Causes of Gum Disease?
Gum disease, or periodontitis, occurs when the gum tissue becomes infected. The infection is caused by a rapid growth in certain bacteria that naturally live in your mouth. If you don’t brush and floss regularly, these bacteria can build up, leaving behind waste products that lead to inflammation. In its early stages, gum disease is a relatively minor problem. Referred to as gingivitis, this early stage of gum disease can usually be treated with a special toothpaste or mouthwash.
However, as gum disease becomes more serious, the necessary treatment becomes more complicated and more invasive. As gingivitis becomes worse, your dentist may consider prescribing a course of antibiotics to get the infection under control. Later stages of gum disease might require deep cleaning techniques such as planing and scaling. When it becomes very serious, treatment for gum disease can require surgery such as gum grafts.
Symptoms of Gum Disease
Early forms of gum disease create very few symptoms. This is one reason why it’s important to see your dentist regularly. With a specially trained eye and special tools used to measure the pockets between your gums and your teeth, your dentist can make an early diagnosis even if symptoms are minimal.
However, if you notice any of the following symptoms, they could indicate that gum disease is developing, and that you should see your dentist as soon as possible.
- Bleeding when you brush your teeth
- Swelling around the bases of your teeth
- A shiny, reddish, or purple look to your gums
- Pus or blisters on your gums
Although untreated gum disease can lead to long-term tooth loss, if you are diligent about your oral care, visit your dentist regularly, and keep an eye out for any unusual symptoms, you can avoid gum surgery or other invasive treatments as well as keep your teeth and gums healthy.
Contact our team at Southern Hills Dental today!